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Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Have you ever had a taste or a smell that reminds you of home? For me, that would be Champurrado and Suavitel. The smell of Champurrado wafting from the kitchen and the fragrance of Suavitel coming off the freshly washed linens. All I know is one sip and I’m a little girl again, home with my parents and my brothers and sisters sitting around the breakfast table eating pan dulce.

The champurrado was ( and if we’re being honest, still is) always perfect. I have no idea how my mom gets it so perfectly smooth (it’s like her secret for having the worlds softest towels. How does she do it?) it’s just one of those “mom things.” The pan dulce is always warm and the laughter is always intoxicating. It’s home and everything that I want my daughters’ to think of when they think of home. That warm nostalgic feeling of belonging and being loved.

READ ALSO: The Most Important things to be said Don’t Always Require Words

So what is this magical drink of my childhood that some of you have never heard of? It’s called champurrado or chocolate but it’s not like Swiss Miss. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Swiss Miss with marshmallows too. This just isn’t it. This is something more substantial.

What is Champurrado?

Champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate or chocolate atole.

Atole or Spanish, from Nahuatl ātōlli, also known as atol and atol de elote, is a traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage of Mesoamerican origin. Chocolate atole is known as champurrado or atole. It is typically accompanied with tamales, and very popular during the Christmas holiday season. Maybe? But in our house, it was just called breakfast.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado is deliciously spiced drinking chocolate that is sometimes so thick and rich you’ll need a spoon! That’s the champurrado that you’ll drink on Christmas morning. It’s flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and Mexican chocolate, but gets its velvety pudding-like consistency from masa harina. That is delicious, but that is not what we had for breakfast every day or we really would have all been diabetic. We drank a slightly lighter version.

READ ALSO: Delicious Summer Rum Cocktail Recipe

If you ever do find yourself in Mexico or a really good Mexican restaurant and they offer Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado, get yourself some. It is delicious.

If you want to try it for yourself at home, my mama’s easy delicious and decadent Champurrado Recipe is perfect.

Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Mama’s Every day Champurrado

Deborah Cruz
Easy recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, Champurrado.
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 6 people


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped Abuelita or Ibarra
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 4 cups Vitamin-D Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup piloncillo/ or brown sugar Piloncillo is raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. Unlike brown sugar, which is made by coating refined white sugar with molasses, piloncillo is pure sugar with no additives.)


  • In a large saucepan boil water with the two cinnamon sticks.
  • Remove from the heat, cover and let the cinnamon sticks steep for 30-45 minutes (depending on how cinnamony you like your Champurrado.) 
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks from the water, return to a slow boil and add the chocolate. Bring to boil while constantly stirring the chocolate as it melts. 
  • Add the brown sugar or piloncillo. Whisk until well blended.
  • Slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. 
  • Add milk and whisk until smooth and well blended.
  • Warm over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. 
  • Serve immediately.
  • If the champurrado is too hot, pour it back and forth between two cups to cool it off. That’s what my mama did. 
  • Optional: Top with whipped cream. This is my daughters' preferred way to drink it. 

This champurrado recipe is perfect for cold mornings before school and work, long Sunday afternoons by the fireplace or for sipping just because around the dining room table playing board games with your family; filling the house with laughter and your hearts with love.

That’s what this Easy Delicious and Decadent Champurrado Recipe is to me.

It’s family.

What is a favorite food or recipe that reminds you of home?

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buddig, monte cristo, monte cristo recipe, buddig taste challenge

You know how they say if you love something put a ring on it? Well, if you love a sandwich you should make a recipe and enter it into the Buddig taste Challenge.

Have you ever eaten something that from the first moment you put it into your mouth, you knew it would be an instant favorite? That is how I feel about the Monte Cristo sandwich. Have you ever had one? They are delicious.

I know it’s a weird combination to deep-fry a ham and turkey sandwich and then dip it in jam but it works and it better than works; it’s an amazing burst of warm, gooey, comforting goodness. It’s like a hug from your mother. In fact, the recipe that I came up with reminds me of my mother’s famous grilled cheese.

I don’t know how she does it or what makes it so good but it tastes better than any other grilled cheese I’ve ever had, ever. I think it has something with the love that is used when she makes it. At least that is what I am telling myself.

My favorite sandwich is the Monte Cristo. It was one of those sandwiches that I never would have thought to eat. In fact, until I saw it on a menu, I had never even heard of it.

Yes, deep-fried everything is awesome but there is something special about this sandwich and I loved it so much that I put my own spin on it and made it even better, I think. I kicked up the sweet and amplified the savory with robust cheeses and hearty Buddig meats.

This is the recipe for 1 sandwich but I quarter it and split with between my girls. It is definitely a 2-person sandwich.


3 slices of sturdy white bread

3 slices of Buddig Smoked Ham

3 slices of Buddig Oven Roasted Turkey Breasts

1 Slice of thick sliced sharp cheddar cheese

1 slice of thick sliced Swiss cheese


1 egg

1-cup whole milk

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

Vegetable oil

Powdered Sugar

Raspberry Preserves, strawberry or red currant jam.

Instructions for prepping the Sandwich:


  1. Take one piece of bread, place turkey slices and Swiss cheese.
  2. Then add another piece of bread.
  3. Add ham and cheddar cheese.
  4. Add last piece of bread.
  5. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Instructions to make batter:

  1. Beat egg in a bowl.
  2. Add milk and blend.
  3. Add salt, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg and baking powder.
  4. Blend all ingredients until completely smooth.

Instructions to complete Monte Cristo:

  • Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or skillet until 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Gently remove sandwich from saran wrap.
  • Gingerly dip sandwich into the batter mixture being careful to cover all the sides and surface area of the sandwich but not over soaking it.
  • Gently battered sandwich into hot oil and fry until golden brown.
  • Remove from hot oil and place on a rack to cool for a couple minutes.
  • Quarter the sandwich and then dust with powdered sugar.
  • Serve with Raspberry preserves, Strawberry or red currant jam for dipping.

I think this sandwich is amazing and I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think. I’m one of 8 bloggers entered in the Buddig Taste Challenge, I would love it if you liked the recipe if you would vote for me. Simply go here click through until you see Deborah Cruz and give me a vote, if you want. I’d appreciate it.

You can vote once per day through May 31st. The grand prize is a $1,000 Gift Card and a meet & greet with the Buddig Family. Every 25th voter will receive a Buddig $1.00 off coupon.

Disclosure: I was invited to enter the Buddig Taste challenge but the recipe and my love for the Monte Cristo is all my own.
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Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Today, A Dog’s Way Home is opening in theaters everywhere and to celebrate, the girls and I are making our Lola some homemade peanut butter and banana dog treats. Or as my Mother-in-law calls them, cookies.

Only, this time instead of the dog treats being some kind of preservative filled meat by-product treat, it will really be a cookie. In fact, it will have some of Lola’s favorite things in it. Our dog is crazy for peanut butter and bananas, the only thing that could make it better in her eyes is if I could sneak some chicken, bacon and watermelon in it.

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Lola’s peanut butter and banana dog treats are going to be homemade goodness. Honestly, I think I might have a hard time keeping the girls out of these dog treats because om gong to infuse them with cbd since I red at Pet Life Today that it has many benefits for them.

READ ALSO: Is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo Method for You? 

You all know I am in the middle of KonMari-ing my house so I don’t have lots of time to spend on baking projects. Also, did I mention that our dishwasher bit the dust this week? Oh my, it did and I’ve realized that all of those dish nights I had as a child have made me truly hate hand washing dishes. So obviously, I am trying to dirty the least amount of dishes possible but Lola is a great pup and she deserves a yummy, homemade treat. Doesn’t your pup?

This is s very simple and easy recipe. Easy enough to let the kids help and you only need to dirty one bowl, a mixing utensil and one cookie sheet. Easy Peasy. Even the littlest kids can help.

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home


Lola’s Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Lola's Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

Deborah Cruz
Easy, delicious homemade dog treat for your furry friend. Lola's Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treat Recipe. So easy to make even the kids can help.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine dog treat, vegetarian
Servings 15


  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup banana mashed
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Whisk together the flour, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, salt, and banana in a bowl.
  • Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. 
  • Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  • Bake in preheated oven until crisp and golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Keyword Dog treat recipe

READ ALSO: A Puppy Saves Christmas

We’d love to hear if your dog loved these dog treats as much as our Lola! #LolaApproved!

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home 

If you give Lola’s Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe a try, let us know in the comments.

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Thanksgiving recipes, perfect thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, family, Angel Soft, recipes, recipe perfect thanksgiving

A perfect Thanksgiving is just around the corner. In all honesty, it’s my favorite holiday, not because of the perfect turkey recipe, all of the scrumptious side recipes  or even the unbelievably good tasting sweet potato casserole that I make every year but because it’s the one time of year, I know that my entire family will be gathered together in one space; breathing the same air. I am so grateful for this one-day and these people who I hold so dear to my heart. These are the people who cause me to be soft and to be strong.

We don’t live that far apart, only a few hours really. But as many of you can relate, life gets in the way of the best intentions. We never get to see one another as much as we would like. But birthdays, weddings, religious celebrations and Thanksgiving, those are the days we show up for without fail.

Once the Big Guy and I were married, we knew that we wanted Thanksgiving to be our holiday because we wanted to unite both families. My husband is from a small family. He only has one brother, three uncles and two aunts. I can count all of his cousins on one hand. This was weird for me at first because this was completely different from what I was used to.

I grew up in a big Latino family with 60 first cousins and several Aunts and Uncles. My parents have six children and we were raised to believe that family is the most important thing, right after God. Being together with family means everything to us. In fact, we were raised that the moment you marry your spouse his family is your family. Even if you barely know them or don’t like them, you love them because they are family.

That’s the true recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving.

We may not have had much in the way of money or possessions growing up, our fortune was meager but we were rich in family and wealthy beyond our wildest imagination in love. We want this for my children. This is why we decided to host Thanksgiving, to bring both sides of the family together and blend them into one great big beautiful village for our children. For us, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate all the blessings we have by being part of that amazing group of people.

Since I was a small child, Thanksgiving has always been about our family being together celebrating. In Mexico, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s an American holiday but in our house, it’s always been a day to be thankful for the life we have and the people we get to share it with. This is a beautiful thing to celebrate.

We might be Mexican but our Thanksgiving doesn’t look much different than yours. There are only a few subtle differences. For example, at some point during the day Banda music will probably be playing because I like to dance while I cook. There will always be hot sauce on the table because my dad puts it on every thing he eats, including turkey legs.

Sure there is football on the television, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a 30-pound turkey but depending on who’s showing up there might be tamales and there is usually a pretty intense game of lotteria played by all the children. In the end, it’s all about the family and taking the day to be thankful for those people whom you get to love.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Thanksgiving are all mine.


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Disclosure: This is a compensated partnership with Torani but all opinions and this iced Café Bombón recipe are my own.

Coffee is my jam. It’s something I’ve been drinking all of my adult life, and if we’re being quite honest, something I’ve been sipping from my parent’s coffee mugs since I was a child. There is something special about the creamy goodness of a good cup of hot water and a coffee brew bag that reminds me of home. Nothing reminds me more of home than Café Bombón.

I remember my dad and uncles drinking Café Bombón at night after dinner at the dining room table while having late-night conversations filled with laughter and reminiscing. I have fond memories of my mom and aunts playing gin rummy and Yahtzee while sipping on Café Bombón and all of this makes my heart happy. Every time I take a drink of Café Bombón those memories are what flood my mind and fill my soul.

What is Café Bombón, you ask? It is literally, candy coffee.

What makes it different from your typical cup of coffee? That would be the sweetened condensed milk. What makes it extra delicious? That would be the Torani salted caramel syrup that I add to mine.

To be honest, I thought “Café Bombón” was how everyone drank coffee because it was the only way I ever saw it drank. The same way I thought everyone made their grilled cheese sandwiches sprinkled with a little sugar on the cheese (made with love as my mom used to tell us). Yep, apparently, my Latino dad and my southern mom made up their own rules along the way.

Typically, Café Bombón is made by simply using 1 ounce of espresso and 1 ounce of sweetened condensed milk. Simple. You can sip it or shoot it, depending on your caffeine needs that day. As I’ve gotten older, I need a little more caffeine to start my day so the 1 to 1 ratio needs to be upped for me in the morning and I like to put mine over ice in the warmer months for drinking convenience.

Café Bombón Recipe


2 ounces of Espresso or strong coffee
2 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces of Torani salted caramel syrup (if you prefer your Café Bombón less sweet, up the coffee ratio to 3 ounces.)
1 ounce of half and half
½ cup of ice


1. Pour sweetened condensed milk over ice.
2. Pour Torani salted caramel syrup over sweetened condensed milk.
3. Add espresso to top.
4. If you have a milk frother, froth 1 ounce of half and half.
5. Pour frothed milk over espresso.
6. You should see distinct layers of ingredients.
7. Enjoy with family and friends.
**I prefer to mix my Café Bombón all up and blend the flavors more evenly but it tastes delicious either way.

It’s that simple and even more delicious. By adding the Torani salted caramel syrup to the traditional Café Bombón, it completely elevates the flavor profile. The great thing about Torani is that is mixes well to bring out the best in your Café Bombón without overpowering everything else. Torani is made with real, simple ingredients that you can recognize.

To make this delicious and easy Café Bombón recipe find Torani at your local Kroger grocery store or online at Torani.com.

What is your favorite Torani flavored syrup for your coffee?

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Thanksgiving recipes, How to make sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes, Holiday recipes, turkey recipes, Thanksgiving, how to roast the perfect turkey

Ever wonder how to roast the perfect turkey? I had no idea how to cook a turkey the first year I hosted Thanksgiving. I just knew  I wanted all of my family together in one place. If that meant that I had to learn how to roast the perfect turkey, so be it. I’d do it. That’s how I learned how to roast a turkey.

I did a lot of research online and on Pinterest before I dove deep into this recipe. I wanted to prepare the best tasting, most moist turkey that ever graced a Thanksgiving tablescape and I did a pretty good job on my first year. By year two, I had all the kinks worked out and there’s been no turning back since.

This turkey recipe is very easy and has worked better than beautifully for me for the past 7 years. I am not a domestic diva but there are a few things that I can really cook so well that it will knock the taste right outta your mouth..turkey is one of those things. So, I want to share with you all my secret of how to roast the perfect turkey. Thanksgiving is my holiday our entire family, both sides come to our house because the Big Guy and I absolutely know how to roast the perfect turkey. I know people deep fry, rotisserie and all sorts of creative ideas but when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I like my turkey traditional. Today I will share with you what I’ve perfected as the sure-fire way of how to roast the perfect turkey.

Easy tips on how to roast a turkey perfectly every time

  1. Learning how to roast the perfect turkey starts with selecting the right turkey for your family. To calculate how much turkey you will need, I use the rule that allows for 1 pound of turkey for every adult and 3/4 pounds for every child that you will be feeding. You will have leftovers and there will be no fighting over portions. Everyone will have their fair share of the tryptophan high that Thanksgiving brings us all.
  2. Start with preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Remove turkey from bag. We have found that buying a non-frozen fresh turkey works the best. It eliminates the headache of thawing. We found this out the hard way when we had our turkey thawing in our game room fridge and little people playing under the bar cabinets, accidentally knocked the plug out of the wall. ( I know so dangerous, please hold all judgment.) Keep in mind that a partially frozen turkey will take longer to cook.
  4. If you need help deciding between fresh or frozen here are a few facts:
    • Fresh turkeys need no thawing and are ready to cook. Winning! This is my favorite tip on how to roast the perfect turkey.
    • Fresh Butterball turkeys are all natural.
    • Frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance but require several days of thawing before roasting. A quick rule of thumb is to allow 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey. We normally get about a 26-pound turkey. Yes, it takes forever to defrost in the refrigerator but it is less likely to give you salmonella than trying to defrost in cold water overnight. The water needs to be cold and changed every 30 minutes to prevent bacteria from growing. If you are not going with a fresh turkey, please defrost using the refrigerator.
  5. Remove all the innards. Do not forget the neck-bone and giblets, sometimes if you have a frozen turkey the neck-bone and giblets try to stay inside. Just remember, every turkey comes with the neck-bone and giblets inside so if you don’t find them. LOOK HARDER they are most likely still frozen inside.
  6. Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels. I like to rinse it once before I pat it dry.
  7. Place turkey lifter across the full length of a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan, 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Keep in mind that a dark roasting pan cooks the turkey faster than a shiny one.
  8. Tuck wings back to hold the neck skin in place. Doing so will help stabilize the turkey in the pan and when carving. Place thawed or fresh turkey, breast up, on the turkey lifter. Raise one loop over wings and breast, and the other loop over drumsticks. Rest loops on turkey, not over the edge of the pan during roasting.
  9. *Next, this is important.* I place my hand between the skin and turkey itself. Then, gently lift on the skin. This separates the skin intact without removing it from the turkey. ( I fully realize that this is about as gross as pulling out the guts from a pumpkin but I enjoy that too:) Then take pats of butter and place inside the space between the turkey and skin. While the turkey cooks the butter flavor will seep into the turkey.
  10. This step is essential to ensuring moistness and a key factor in how to roast the perfect turkey, massage turkey skin with vegetable/olive oil ( I prefer olive oil) to prevent the skin from drying and locking in the juices, keeping your turkey moist.
  11. Melt about a cup of butter ( unsalted preferably) and pour over the turkey while massaging it into the turkey. Then shower the turkey with salt and pepper. Massage again. ( This turkey is very relaxed by the time he goes into the oven.)
  12. I do not stuff my turkey with stuffing. I do however quarter 2 lemons and 3 oranges and place inside the turkey along with some rosemary and thyme. There are a variety of things you can add inside your turkey for flavoring but oranges, lemons, rosemary and thyme are what I use. I keep it simple.
  13. Turn oven down to 325 degrees for cooking. To cook the perfect turkey we preheat to 400 degrees because once you put the turkey in the oven, it seals in the juices an then immediately turn the oven down 325 degrees for cooking. If this is your first time, I don’t suggest waiting until turkey is in the oven before turning down temperature because there is a big possibility that you will forget and burn the outside of your turkey while the inside is still frozen.
  14. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh muscle but not touching the bone. When the thigh is up to temperature and if the turkey is stuffed, move thermometer to center of stuffing. Stuffing should be 165 degrees when done.

READ ALSO: How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving recipes, How to make sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes, Holiday recipes, turkey recipes, Thanksgiving, how to roast the perfect turkey

15. I do not stuff my bird with stuffing when roasting, it slows down the cooking process. I fear if I did, I’d have to title this post How to get Salmonella rather than How to roast the perfect turkey.

16. Place your turkey with a loosely tented piece of lightweight foil atop the breast and top of drumsticks to prevent overcooking in the pre-heated oven at 325 degrees. If you place your dark roasting lid on the turkey it will speed up the roasting process. I prefer to cook my turkey slowly. Think of that lid as Pitocin for your turkey, it will speed up the process but it might not give you the best results. The turkey may be drier than it would have been otherwise.

17. I check the turkey about every hour and baste it in its juices. This helps keep the skin moist and helps to brown the turkey. Yes, I do realize that I am obsessed with keeping my turkey moist. Have you ever had dry turkey? It’s almost impossible to eat and I don’t want to choke to death on Thanksgiving.

18. Use the roasting schedule below as a guide and start checking for doneness about 30 minutes before the end of recommended cooking times.

19. When the turkey is about 2/3 done, uncover the turkey to allow for the skin to cook to a beautiful golden brown. This is the perfect time to start preparing those final side dishes like the recipe for those delicious stuffed sweet potatoes I found on Lady and the Blog.

20. Your turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures:

180 degrees deep in the thigh. At this temperature, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply.

165 degrees in the center of the stuffing, if the turkey is stuffed.

21. Lift roasted turkey onto a platter with turkey lifter and discard lifter.

22. Before removing stuffing and carving, let your turkey stand 15 minutes to allow juices to set. Garnish as you like, I use citrus and cranberries. This is how to roast the perfect turkey.

READ ALSO: Thanksgiving Recipes for the Perfect Holiday Dinner

How to roast the perfect turkey every time

Net Weight (lb.)Unstuffed (hrs.)Stuffed (hrs.)
4½ to 72 to 2½2¼ to 2¾
7 to 92½ to 32¾ to 3½
9 to 183 to 3½3¾ to 4½
18 to 223½ to 44½ to 5
22 to 244 to 4½5 to 5½
24 to 304½ to 55½ to 6¼

I know there are many ways to roast the perfect turkey but this is what has worked for me for many Thanksgivings. How do you roast your perfect turkey? What are your favorite Thanksgiving sides? What are your must haves at Thanksgiving? Stay tuned, I will be sharing a few of my favorite sides over the next week. How to roast the perfect turkey is the key to how to have a perfect Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Thanksgiving recipes, How to make sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes, Holiday recipes, turkey recipes, Thanksgiving

How to Roast a Turkey to perfection

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Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Last week, we were eating our way through Boston and falling in love with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich like no other. We love Boston. I love the rich history and the big city vibe. I love the friendly people and the smell of salt air and food trucks. In fact, there is nothing that I don’t love about Boston.  The girls love to eat and shop their way through Boston and the Big Guy, well, when his girls are happy; he’s happy.

Unfortunately, for the first three days of this year’s annual Boston trip, I was sick sick. Like running a fever, eat a bite of your dinner, cry sick. Thank God and the Boston Hyatt Regency for a comfortable bed and a beautiful view or none of us would have survived the ordeal.

But by day 3, come hell or high water, I’d promised the girls I’d make the 3-minute walk through the Hyatt Lobby that was connected to Macy’s, out the door and across the street to Primark. My girls are legit crazy for that place. Hey, I can’t blame them. I love a good bargain on cute clothes too.

However, in the time it took me to walk to Primark, I had gone sheet white and was covered in cold sweats. I was seriously going to pass out. Did I mention that Primark is 4 stories tall? The girls were in heaven. It really is a tween/ teen girls shopping mecca. I tried to last as long as they needed me to be upright but once I started to hear the blood rushing around my head, I knew it was time to get out and find some food.  At that point, I had consumed a total of maybe 1 bite of aforementioned sandwich, a granola bar and 3 cheez-its in 72 hours.

READ ALSO: The Ultimate Monte Cristo Recipe

We headed to Pret a Manger. It was our first time but hey, “ready to eat” to a woman about to pass out in public sounds like the best place to be. The girls could see that I was fading fast so we headed to the selection and made our choices; chicken noodle soup for me, a grilled ham and cheese for each girl, a couple of iced chai lattes for the girls and some fruit because mama was in desperate need of some vitamin C.

We paid, got the heck out of dodge before mama went timber and returned to our hotel room. No sooner had I relinquished 2/3 of my soup to the girls before I heard “oohs” and “ahhhs” explode from the other side of the room, like fireworks. I couldn’t imagine what basic option I had just purchased in my haste that was making my children lose their minds. It was the grilled ham and cheese, btw.

It’s hard for me to understand as ham generally turns my stomach inside out. In fact, the very thought of the smell of it makes me want to heave. They begged me to try a bite but seeing as this 1/3 of a cup of chicken noodle soup was the first thing I’d been able to keep down in 3 days, I graciously declined their offer.

READ ALSO: Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle

But they couldn’t stop talking about this Pret a Manger magically delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwich. In fact, they insisted on having it again that night for dinner. As we have no Pret a Manger anywhere near us, I made it might mission to figure out how to make this magical sandwich. I mean, dang, I want them to rave about my cooking like that.

I scoured the Internet and did some sleuthing and found the recipe for the Pret a Manger grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Well, everything except the secret sauce that is. But you know me, I figured that out too! So guess what my girls have been having for lunch every single day since we got home from vacation? Mommy’s Pret a Manger copycat grilled ham and cheese sandwich recipe. Made with love, by yours truly.  It’s so good that all the “oooohs” and “aaahhhhs” at my own kitchen counter convinced me to take a bite and guess what? It truly is magically delicious.

So if you are sick of your kids asking what’s for lunch and then replying that they don’t want “that” again or you’re just plain chicken nuggeted out, I’ve got the super-secret recipe for you. My gift from me to every mom on the planet.


2 slices of sourdough bread

1 slice of Vermont white cheddar cheese

1-2 slices of your favorite thick sliced ham (my girls love wildflower honey ham)


*shhhh secret sauce ingredients

1 tablespoon of mayonnaise

1-2 teaspoons of whole ground Dijon mustard (depending on your personal preference)



Mix secret sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Heat small frying pan to medium heat

Assemble sandwich

Slather one piece of bread with the secret sauce

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Top with ham and then cheddar.

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Add top piece of sourdough.

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Butter both sides of the sandwich.

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

When the pan is hot, place the sandwich in the pan.

Lower heat.

Cover sandwich with lid (to help melt cheese).

Pret a manger, grilled ham and cheese recipe, copycat recipe, Pret copycat recipe, lunch recipe

Toast to your liking.



When cheese is melted, remove from heat.

Cut in half and serve warm.

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avgolemono, greek lemon rice soup, lemons, soup, minute rice, how to make avgolemono greek lemon rice soup, avgolemono, greek lemon rice soup, lemons, soup, minute rice

I have partnered with Minute® Rice to share with you the recipe of one of my family’s favorite cold weather, holiday hectic comfort foods; Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken soup.

Have you ever had a food, scent or object that reminded you of home so much that if you were around it, it took you right back to that place? I do, it’s Greek Lemon Chicken soup. It’s chocked full of healthy, comfort foods like fresh chicken, Minute® Rice, a creamy sauce and loads of hearty veggies. It’s even better than it sounds, especially on cold, long winter days.

There used to be a little café back home run by a little, old Greek couple. I’d gone there since I was in high school with my best friend on Saturday afternoons to talk over our lives and sip on that amazing Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. This continued through our 20’s. If I was home from school, even in the summer time, that Greek Lemon Chicken soup was always a staple. Somehow, it made everything seem possible.

READ ALSO: Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

Growing up in a Latina home, I’d never had Greek Lemon Chicken Soup before that café and as I got older and moved away, I missed that soup. It always reminded me of home and a time when anything was possible. It was like a giant hug from the inside out. I took my husband there while we were dating. It was like sharing a wonderful secret.

That little café closed a few years ago but I refused to imagine a world where possibilities weren’t endless and I wanted to share it with my own girls someday. I was really upset at the thought of never getting to have girl talks and share secrets over soup with my daughters as they grew into women.

I did what any sane, determined mom on a mission would do I came up with a recipe that tastes just as good as the Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and I’ve shared it on several occasions with my girls. We sit around our dinner table and share our days and it is wonderful. The best part is that it makes a huge batch and heats up just as deliciously as it tasted on day one. During the frenzy of the holiday season, this soup is a life saver for the busy family. There is nothing quite so comforting as coming in from sledding to eat a hot bowl of Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and with Minute® Rice it’s done that much sooner.

READ ALSO: How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

Here is my recipe for the best Greek Lemon Chicken Soup I’ve ever tasted. I will warn you. It is a labor of love. It takes a little prep time but I’ve found some shortcuts and in the end, the soup is so worth it. The flavor is out of this world and your family will feel the love in each bite.

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Ingredients for Greek Lemon Chicken Soup:

8 cups of  chicken broth, bought or homemade chicken broth
2/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of shredded carrots
2/3 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped celery
6 tablespoons of chicken bouillon
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup of butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of cooked white Minute® Rice (you can also use Minute 100% whole grain brown rice, it just take a few more minutes to cook.) Minute® Rice is my favorite because it cooks quickly and is always fluffy.
3 shredded chicken breasts (I boil the chicken for 1 hour before shredding)
8 egg yolks

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1. In a large pot combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, shredded carrots, onions, celery, chicken bouillon and white pepper.
2. Bring to a boil on high and let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Blend melted butter and flour together. Then, carefully add it to the soup mixture. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
4. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until light in color.
5. Add some of the hot soup to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
6. Return egg mix to soup pot and heat through. Add rich and chicken.
7. Ladle hot soup into bowls.
8. Enjoy with those you love.

I guarantee that your family will love this soup and adore you for making it. It quickly became a favorite of our girls. Bonus: it is so hearty that you can make an entire meal of it, no sides needed. Many nights we have enjoyed a bowl of Greek Lemon Chicken soup in front of the fireplace while watching a movie together as a family.

It also pairs great with your favorite Panini, grilled cheese or a small salad for lunch or dinner. We’ve drawn this soup out to dinner for at least 3 days.

READ ALSO: How to make Sweet Potato Casserole

What is your favorite comfort food that reminds you of home?

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For more great recipe ideas and information about all the new Minute rice products visit www. Minuterice.com



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice

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simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

Want to eat all the food that tastes good but still want to be healthy? Want to look great in your bathing suit this summer but still want to eat chicken wings? That’s the quandary, right? We all want to look good and be healthy but we simultaneously want to eat whatever we want to eat, whenever we want to eat. This is possible if you’re a teenager but if you are over 25, 30 and certainly 40-years-old, you know that concessions have to be made.

Things like moderation, taste, salt intake, sugar intake, cholesterol points all need to be weighed. Do you know that saying, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”? Well, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself is that basket of French fries something you are willing to sacrifice your bathing suit body for?

READ ALSO: Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

Now, I’ve lived in this world long enough to know that, yes, sometimes they are. Sometimes you just want to eat the French fries and that’s ok but you have to be willing to do the exercise. I think everything is fine to eat in moderation and I don’t believe in artificial sugars and preservatives. My family is foodies. We love traveling the planet and trying new foods and meeting new people. We are all about experiences and while I may not care so much about forever on my hips, I do care about missing adventures because I’m unhealthy or worse, dead.

It’s taken me years to realize that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating boring. It just means swapping out a few ingredients, cooking more and moving more. Nobody wants to be the person at the party watching everyone else eat and drink. And who likes to chew on celery while everyone else is snacking on buffalo wings at the tailgate party? It’s embarrassing and you feel singled out for trying to be healthy; you feel punished. I don’t like feeling on the outside. This is why I am taking some of our favorite recipes and making healthier versions.

READ ALSO: The Moment I Stopped Caring What Others Think about Me

Needless to say, my family doesn’t get to eat chicken wings or buffalo pizza as often as they’d like to.

That’s why I created a simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe.

simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

Simple, Delicious and Healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipe

If you love pizza and you want to be healthy and not feel deprived, this simple, delicious and healthy buffalo chicken pizza recipe is perfect for the entire family.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
5 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 Chicken Breast boiled and shredded or you can buy pre-cooked chicken breast chunks. We prefer to cook and shred our own but if you are in a hurry, pre-cooked works.
  • 1 Refrigerated Pizza Dough Wewalka Classic Pizza Crust is our choice
  • 4-6 ounces Part Skim Milk Mozzarella Again, you can use more or less, depending on your personal taste.
  • 1/2 cup Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce You can use medium or hot and add as much as you like. I use mild because I dine with children every day of the week.


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Unroll the packaged refrigerated pizza dough on its parchment paper. I usually use a large cookie sheet for this, as it is a rectangular crust.
  • Spread your wing sauce across the pizza crust dough, going almost to the ends but not quite. The reason for this is that when the buffalo chicken wing sauce heats up it thins out and gets runny. By not going to the ends, you can prevent the sauce from running over the edges and ending up on the bottom of your pizza and transferring to your hands and clothes when you eat. 
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  • Top the sauce with the shredded chicken, dispersing evenly throughout. 
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • Top with mozzarella cheese, using as much or as little as you like. 
  • Bake pizza for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is a stringy and golden brown.
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • When it is done, pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes so that you don't burn your mouth when you bite into.
Keyword buffalo chicken, buffalo wings, pizza

simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

What’s your favorite recipe hack to make those delicious dishes we all love so much more healthy?


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Thanksgiving recipes, thanksgiving dinner, cranberry orange relish, thanksgiving sides

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Growing up, cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner meant a gelatinous cranberry-ish colored substance in the form of a can. Really, it was like eating canned jelly. It was all I knew and I loved it. I’ve always been a sucker for a bit of sweet with my savory, as evidenced by my cranberry and brie bites addiction. I had no idea there was even such a thing as homemade cranberry orange sauce.

However, when I met the Big Guy, on our first Thanksgiving at his mom’s house, I tasted what could only be called cranberry orange heaven. It was absolutely nothing like the canned stuff that I had believed to be cranberry sauce for my entire previous 20-something years. It was like my mouth was tasting cranberries for the first time ever.

READ ALSO: How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

My mother-in-law bought a prepackaged deli style cranberry orange sauce by a company called Indian Trail. The little tub of sweet-tart-citrus deliciousness was magnificent and the flavors were incredibly vibrant. It was like eating color. The texture was jellied but not gelatinous. It was full-bodied compared to the canned stuff. To be honest, it was almost a dessert.

A couple of years later, the Big Guy and I were married and living hundreds of miles away from our families so we decided to host our first ever Thanksgiving dinner. It was all brand new. I was excited and terrified to take on the undertaking but it was time to make our own traditions, he and I. I finally felt like an adult. Just my husband and his wife and no parents around to do all the heavy lifting.

We made a list and made sure to include everything that we wanted in a Thanksgiving dinner. We were able to move away from the stove top stuffing and canned “cranberry sauce”. The one side dish that  I knew that I really wanted to keep from our mothers was the Indian Trail cranberry orange sauce. Only, when we got to the store, we couldn’t find it anywhere. After a frenzied scouring of the internet to save my Thanksgiving dinner ( because I was not above having my MIL overnight me the sauce from home) I found out that Indian Trail went out of business.

NOOOOOOOOO! I was so disappointed. Obviously, our first Thanksgiving was doomed. All I wanted was to host the perfect Thanksgiving for our family. We had gotten too big for our britches and Thanksgiving was ruined. There would be no Indian Trail Cranberry Orange Sauce for us. Or would there?

READ ALSO: How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Come on, y’all know me. I’m a Mexican, not a Mexicant. I did a whole lot of research and some trial and error taste testing and guess what I did? I created my own Indian Trail copycat recipe. All the same flavor and texture made at my house in a matter of minutes. And you know what? The homemade, from scratch recipe, is even better than the Indian Trail sold in stores version because it is fresh. All the bursting with flavors I was referring to earlier is timesed by 100%.

Here is my recipe for copycat homemade Indian Trail cranberry orange sauce recipe.


1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

1 whole orange including peel/rind, seeds removed

1-cup sugar


Chop all of the ingredients in a food processor or a food grinder and stir to mix. Refrigerate until ready to use. Be sure to let it drain a while to remove the excess liquid before mixing it with Jello. The entire time it takes to process this mixture is about 5 minutes.


2 (3 oz.) pkgs. raspberry Jello

2 1/2 c. boiling water

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1 cup of finely Chopped Walnuts or pecans


Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in Cranberry Orange Sauce, pineapple and chopped walnuts. Pour into mold. Refrigerate until firm ( 4 hours). I usually make this the night before Thanksgiving.

READ ALSO: How to make an Easy, Elegant Thanksgiving Tablescape

Serve on Thanksgiving along with all of the traditional sides you love. Your family will thank you for it. This year will be year 15 that we’ve hosted and I just had a hysterectomy and we’re still cooking because I can’t go back to canned cranberry sauce and Stove Top. It’s not just for Thanksgiving. This cranberry orange sauce is great for Christmas or really any dinner ever. Happy dinner!

What’s your Indian Trail Cranberry Orange Sauce side that you MUST have every holiday?

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